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Schizophrenia: Why Should You Know About It?

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that results in the inability in the functioning of the brain. It is a common disorder with more than on a million cases per year in India. An individual suffering from schizophrenia experiences positive, negative as well as cognitive symptoms. It is essential to notice these symptoms, especially among men, as they experience more negative symptoms and have less chance of a complete recovery from the disorder than women. It is also imperative that schizophrenia among men typical onsets in the late teens or early twenties. In women, it typically onsets in the late twenties or early thirties. There are many causes, as well as factors that trigger schizophrenia.

Many recent scientific studies have shown that genes, environment, and biological factors play a significant role in the development of schizophrenia. Individuals with a family history of schizophrenia tend to have a higher chance of developing a mental illness than those who do not have any medical history. Low brain chemicals affect human behaviour, emotions, and chemical abnormalities act as significant factors of schizophrenia. Various research studies have portrayed that individuals who suffer from schizophrenia experience complications. These complications include low birth weight, premature birth, perinatal hypoxia, and viral exposure during their birth.

Environmental hazards have a considerable impact on the development of the brain. An individual who lives in a hazardous environment is more prone to develop a mental illness like schizophrenia. Even an individual living in a toxic, stressful environment also has a higher risk of developing schizophrenia. Alcohol and drug abuse, especially during teenage and early adolescence, affect the white matter in the brain that triggers schizophrenia.

At times, individuals misinterpret schizophrenia with other mental illnesses. Although individual suffering from schizophrenia suffers from a thought disorder, it is different from Dissociative identity disorder. An individual suffering from schizophrenia experience the below-mentioned symptoms:

Some of the early symptoms are generally noticed among individuals in their late teens or early twenties. It is vital to notice the below-mentioned symptoms in your child. We often ignore these signs because we consider them as 'teenage behaviour'.

  • Poor performance in school and academics

  • Self-isolation

  • Irritability

  • Lack of concentration

  • Insomnia

  • The constant change in behaviour

Positive symptoms- Positive symptoms are defined as actions and ideas that individuals experience, but they can't distinguish between reality. Below mentioned are a few common positive symptoms that can be easily noticed in an individual:

  • Hallucination: This is one of the most common types of positive symptoms. It is defined as an experience that appears real, but it is just created in an individual's mind. It can occur in various senses like vision, taste, touch, and smell.

  • Movement disorder: An individual experiences strange postures, either slow or increased abnormal body movements

  • Thought disorder: An individual processes information in an unusual way which leads to difficulty in social interaction.

  • Delusion: A delusion occurs when an individual believes in action despite being contradicted by reality. There are many types of delusions that an individual might experience like- thought Broadcasting, thought Withdrawal, Delusions of Reference, Delusions of Persecution, Delusions of Grandeur, Delusions of Control.

Negative symptoms- Negative symptoms are defined as inabilities that interrupt an individual's perception, thinking, emotions and behaviour. Below mentioned are a few negative symptoms that can be easily noticed and more common among men-

  • Social isolation

  • Inability to persist in activities

  • Flat affect

  • Disorganized speech and thinking

  • Irregular emotional response

  • Lack of interest in daily activities and life

  • Lack of meaningful speech

  • Repetitive and vague speech

Cognitive Symptoms- Cognitive symptoms are defined as inabilities that interrupt an individual's normal functioning. It is challenging to notice the cognitive symptoms. A few cognitive symptoms are mentioned below-

  • Poor executive functioning

  • Problem with working memory

  • Inability to focus and pay attention

  • Inability to use and learn new information

  • Inability to understand and become aware of their symptoms

Proper medication with psychotherapy is essential for treating schizophrenic patients. We must consult a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist to ensure the healthy functioning of the patient.

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